End of an Era

The sun is setting on Phoenix's Steve Nash era

To use a cliché that will probably be used more than once in the coming months but the sun looks to be setting on the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash era. Nash’s 6 year tenure delivered everything to the Phoenix franchise except for that elusive NBA championship. Nash made stars out of nobodies, and made out his General Manager’s and coach’s to be geniuses. However, with Kid Canada at 36 years of age and the Suns front office appearing to make some more questionable decisions, NBA fans will have to get accustomed to seeing Phoenix as pretenders rather than contenders.

Yesterday, it was reported by the Arizona Republic that the Phoenix Suns acquired disgruntled Toronto Raptor Hedo Turkoglu in a trade for guard Leandro Barbosa and forward Dwayne Jones. It was also reported by the Arizona Republic that the Suns are involved in a sign and trade with the Atlanta Hawks that would have restricted free agent Josh Childress going to Phoenix with brand new 5 year $30 million contract. These moves are in addition to the signings of Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick to multi-year contracts earlier in the off-season.

The Raptors have just been looking to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu’s monster 5 year $53 million contract after Turkoglu stated he did not want to play in Toronto anymore.

The Phoenix Suns’ decision to take on 4 more years of Hedo Turkoglu seems questionable at best. Obviously, it is possible that we see him regain the form that made him into a marquee player in the NBA, but I highly doubt that.

One of the major reasons that Turkoglu was unhappy in Toronto was because he felt he did not have the ball in his hands enough, much like that kid in elementary school who always whined because he didn’t get the ball enough but never actually did anything with it when he got it.

What makes the Phoenix Suns organization think that Turkoglu will have success in Phoenix?

Hedo Turkgolu had more downs than ups in his 1 season with Toronto

I don’t blame Turkoglu for wanting the ball more because he is a guy who makes plays for others. In his brief stint with Toronto you could see his excellent court vision and his ability to make plays that very few players can make. His 6 foot 10 frame causes mismatches for opposing players and in theory he also should have a solid mid-outside shooting game.

However, it is evident that Turkoglu will have the ball in his hands even less of the time with the Suns’ offence revolving around Steve Nash and his handling of the ball.

On top of playing like garbage in Toronto, he was also lazy. He didn’t rebound, defend, or play hard on the offensive end. The last thing the Phoenix Suns need is a guy who doesn’t defend and rebound.

Just like in Toronto, Turkoglu is going to turn into a sluggish stand-still 3-point shooter, which he a) was not very successful at and b) not happy with the role.

Hedo Turkoglu is 31 years old and not getting any younger. He came into training camp last year out of shape, not ready to play, and content to count his money while the organization gave him a reprieve. The Phoenix Suns do not need a guy who’s going to complain about his role on the team, and not produce on the floor. If Phoenix Suns fans are hoping for some clutch play from the so-called “Mr. Fourth Quarter,” they really should not be counting on it because Raptor fans saw none of that last season.

Following the Suns loss of star power forward Amare Stoudemire, they went out and acquired the 28-year-old underachieving power forward Hakim Warrick to replace him, and then re-signed the overachieving outside shooting Channing Frye. They committed $18 million and $30 million respectively, but without a legitimate inside scorer these moves just don’t make sense.

There is no way that Steve Nash can keep going all superhuman on us. At some point in time he is going to show signs of aging, and the Phoenix Suns are going to have to re-tool. Nash has 2 years left on his contract, which is a very small window for the organization. Nevertheless, with the roster that they have now, it is apparent that they will be unable to contend.

A starting line-up of Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick, and Robin Lopez is not going to get the job done.

Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Shawn Marion all thrived under Steve Nash

Committing multiple years to mediocre players is going to seriously hurt the Phoenix Suns in the future once Steve Nash is gone. Steve Nash has made some guys a lot of money including Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Shawn Marion. How have these players fared before or after their time in Phoenix? Answer that question, then ask yourself how are all these new players with big contracts going to thrive once Steve Nash is out of the picture?

I haven’t even talked about Josh Childress who could potentially be a good fit for the Suns run and gun style. But after some up and downs in two seasons in Greece combined with Steve Nash’s aging, 5 years at $6 million per is too steep a price.

Oh yeah, if you guys are thinking that I forgot about Goran Dragic and screaming that he is the ultimate successor to Steve Nash…well I didn’t.

Let’s get the facts straight. Goran Dragic has shown the ability to be a very good point guard at some point in the NBA, but no one is Steve Nash. Nash is a once in a lifetime player, and the NBA has never and might never again see a player like him. Once Nash hands the reigns over to Dragic the style of play and most likely the success will not be the same. You can take that to the bank.

I think that it is clear that when Steve Nash does eventually retire or leave Phoenix we are going to be talking about the bad contracts that the Phoenix Suns have given to these players.

Honestly, if I didn’t know any better I would have thought that Bryan Colangelo is running both the Raptors and the Suns.

An aging Steve Nash, no Amare Stoudemire, and numerous bad contracts is not the recipe for success in the desert.

Amare Stoudemire may not have helped bring the Suns an NBA championship. However, he did make the team into contenders.

Contenders? I’d be happy to see the Phoenix Suns as pretenders in the coming years.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

16 Responses to End of an Era

  1. leorest says:

    This is a good read man, lots of good insight on the Suns future, and I agree with just about everything. The Suns have signed too many mediocre players for more money than they should really make and in a Western Conference loaded with young and talented teams, the Suns are going to be basement-dwellers in a couple of years. Nice Blog!

  2. KDog13 says:

    I don’t see too much future in the deal to get Turkoglu, Suns going to be bad over with a steady decline over the years. When Nash is a free agent……he ain’t coming back.

  3. michael taillie says:

    Chris,

    I agree with everything you have said in this peice. It’s a shame how inflatted the economy and player salaries became this summer; however, though Childress struggled his first year across seas, did you not happen to notice how much he flourished in his second-year?

    He was a 15, 5 reb. an 2 assists glue-guy on a very slow paced Olympiacos team. while shooting nearly 60%. Pretty efficient.

    This team won’t play very much defense, but running-n-gunning with Nash and Dragic and a slew of 3 point shooters are going to give the Suns a shot in most games.

    This team – even after all the remodeling – is still i think pushing for a bottom playoff seed? What do you think?

    ANother great story, Chris, overall!. Keep writing!

    • Chris Ross says:

      I just think that Stoudemire was such a big part of the Suns success especially the way him and Nash ran the pick and roll to perfection. Now that they won’t ever have to double on the inside unless Warrick somehow becomes superstar. That means that teams can cover the 3 point threat of the Suns much better. Nash is getting older and won’t be able to run the offence as well. They could slip into the playoffs next year but I still doubt that even. Also, as I mentioned in the article Turkoglu is not going to fit well. I can almost guarantee that one. Most people would not have watched him up in Toronto and only remember how good he was in Orlando.

  4. Pingback: End of an Era « Basketball Outsider

  5. The_Creator says:

    I’m a little more positive about the Hedo trade because sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery to reignite a player. He was always a stone cold killer in Sacramento and Orlando…it’s tough to be shipped off to Toronto no matter what the situation…the team was terrible and he didn’t want to be there…yeah his money is an issue but if he can put his one bad season behind him and regain his old form I see this being a great trade…LB did pretty much nothing for us last year and look how well we did

  6. Ultimately it’s going to come down to trading Turkoglu again, or finding a solution for Nash through trades. 2 alphas cannot both handle the ball at once, and it will eventually irk them. Good post.

  7. dagamemasta says:

    Really nice post here, since you’ve made all the points pretty clear, that Nash is too old (goddamn the Basketball Jesus) and the contracts for Warrick and Frye seem too fishy. Warrick just got off his rookie contract last year, so what makes the Suns think they couldn’t push him to accept another minimal one year offer? As sad as it is for us Suns fans to say, that the Nash era is truly gone. But in the end, we’re still talking about Steve Nash. I think we’ll be mighty surprised this season, provided the Suns aren’t done wheeling and dealing yet.

  8. I don’t understand dumping Barbosa for Turkoglu either, but I will say this is one of the smartest moves Bryan Colangelo’s made in a long time.

    I do like the Warrick move for the Suns, though. Seems like Phoenix’s offense is tailor made for his athleticism. And I’m always hesitant to write off a Nash team. At the beginning of last year, most of us would’ve picked them as a fringe playoff team at best.

  9. awesome i really like thoughts on the suns and steve nash

  10. jerome says:

    I don’t really think Frye’s, Warrick and Childress contract are excessive. Their combined salary is just about what Amare got in New York. I think with the aging Nash and Hill, the Suns is really going for a very deep bench to be able maintain their run and gun game. I just hope that Robin Lopez can develop into an intimidating presence inside and it should be an exciting Suns if Lopez can control the middle.

    With their logjam on the wings though, I think Richardson will be traded before the mid-year trade deadline (hopefully for a stronger inside presence). I’m surprised they did not pushed hard enough for David Lee (they could have “traded” Amare and David Lee and would have been a win win for both NYK and Suns than what it is now).

  11. tothemax2010 says:

    Yeah its sad that Nash did not and will never get a ring. He is such a great point guard. But is so terrible on Defense. And the Suns as a whole are also all offense. People Love watching great offense, but great defense get Rings. I posted a new article check it out. http://tothemax2010.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/who-needs-the-three-kings/

  12. Nuno Barreto says:

    Totally agree that as long as Nash plays at a high level they will be a good playoff team, but when he decreases his performances they will suffer with the players they have signed now!
    I just wouldn’t count out Hedo just yet. He may be a good player for the suns when they are forced to play half-court basketball.
    Also Dragic will be a good NBA point guard but not like Nash as you have pointed out.

  13. Andrew Macaluso says:

    Nice read, Chris but I have to disagree.

    Orlando not having Hedo is the reason why they fell short in the playoffs.

    If you ever watched Phoenix and Magic play against one another, Hedo was the one tearing Phoenix apart because of the way they had to play against them.

    But his skill-set fits in perfectly fit with the Suns. He can create off the dribble, shoot the three, and would be a great fit playing with Nash.

    At 6-foot-10 he can play the power forward position and spread the floor, which is music to Nash’s ears.

    He can also be the late-game scorer the Suns have been missing, and you would have to assume that he’d be a little more motivated to play for a playoff team than the Raptors.

  14. Prodigy says:

    Josh Childress was the best move out of these so far. 5 years at 6 mill is about the mid level. Are you saying he isn’t worth at least that? Turk is a horrible contract, but one that becomes trade bait at the end of it. He’s shown the ability to play off the ball in Sac and SA to decent success. He doesn’t need to be a marquee player merely a competent one. Nash WILL show his age at some point but if Dragic keeps giving him 15-20 minutes a game that point will keep getting pushed back further and further.

    Thoughts on next years Suns
    http://kobeforthewin.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/threats-in-the-west-phoenix-suns/

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